In the past week I had an in-depth conversation about bipolar disorder with a friend of mine who knows very little about it. I appreciated her honesty and being open to learn about something that has been a big part of my life. One question that she asked me really stuck out.
What assisted you the most in getting out of depression?
After briefly thinking about it I answered supporting other people.”
In my experience, when I have been depressed and/or low, the entire focus of my life has been on me and my problems. The part of me which actively supports important people in my life gets shut off. Does this sound familiar to you?
I felt the shift in my mood and also my actions once I turned on the support switch again…that of me supporting others. Thinking of someone besides myself got me out of the downward mindset spiral which you have most likely experienced. Once I started supporting others again it gave me something to look forward to and this is huge for someone who is depressed. It is VERY hard to be excited about anything when your world is falling apart. I would be anticipating the next phone/skype call, the email reply, the text reply, or the next time that I saw them in person. When I was depressed it was difficult to meet people in person, however if I knew that I was supporting them in some capacity it was much easier.
Support is nearly always stated as a key component of people diagnosed with mental illnesses to get healthier. However it is nearly always concentrated on people supporting those diagnosed. Rarely is it mentioned that those diagnosed would gain benefits from supporting others.
Have you been able to support people when youre depressed/low?
If so what was your experience?
Read more of Scott’s blog posts for IBPF here or visit his personal blog.